Direct from the streets of São Paulo: Wallsend’s Guilherme Evangelista

May 27th, 2022

 Jacob Briers

Hailing from São Paulo, Guilherme Evangelista dos Santos injects distinctive Brasileiro flair to the historic Wallsend Football Club.

Guilherme has lived and breathed football his whole life. Like most kids in Brazil, Guilherme started playing futsal at three. That is also around the same time he started supporting his beloved Corinthians. Ever since then, he’s been hooked on the world game.

Humble Beginnings

“I grew up playing in the streets with my friends until I was 12 years old,” Guilherme said.

“In Brazil, it’s different. You start playing futsal first, and after you hit a certain age, you start playing football.”

Once Guilherme hit 12 years of age, he quickly transitioned from futsal to football. It wasn’t long before he found a reputable youth side.

“At 14 years old, I started playing for Portuguesa until I was 17 years old.”

Portuguesa’s senior side at the time was playing in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and Série B (Brazil’s top two flights of football), leaving Guilherme hopeful of a professional football career.

Unfortunately, it was not to be.In 2012, Guilherme was at a crossroads; study, or football.

“I tried to be a professional [footballer] my whole life,” Guilherme said.

“I tried to play for [Palmeiras] when I was 17 years old, but after realising the football wasn’t about talent but money as well, I gave up; this is not for me.

“My family forced me to go to university, and I gave up [competitive] football.

“It’s hard to play professionally in Brazil. With the talent and players, it’s hard to get in anywhere. It’s really competitive.”

Guilherme started his three years at university, studying physical education.

Graduating at 21, Guilherme started working for his local YMCA as a coach and playing community football on the side, where the level was still “pretty good”.

Guilherme continued doing that until he moved to Australia aged 25 for new beginnings.

A Slight Change of Scenery

“I didn’t know about the football in Australia; I thought there wasn’t football here, just rugby,” Guilherme said.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to miss football’. But when I moved here, I saw plenty of kids playing in parks, ovals and everything. I realised, “oh my god, football is really big here.”

Guilherme first landed in Sydney, worked multiple jobs and studied English, but of course, still found time to play football or futsal.

Working as a dishwasher and Hello Fresh delivery driver, but mainly on construction sites, Guilherme quickly found an opportunity within Australian football.

“I had a trial with Dunbar Rovers and passed and everything, but training was all in the night, and I had English school so I couldn’t play for them.”

Not long after Dunbar, Guilherme found a group to play futsal with at the Mosaic Metros Futsal Club based in East Sydney.

“I met Jarrod Galbraith-Marten, the Mosaic Metros Futsal Club coach, and playing for them, I met Shane Watson,” Guilherme said.

“Jarrod helped me to start playing futsal around Sydney after Dunbar Rovers. He gave me the first opportunity to play in my first futsal competition in Australia.

“Shane introduced me to many people in football, which helped to contact teams to play.

“[Jarrod and Shane] were essential for me. I am grateful for them.”

A season later, Guilherme started playing for Fraser Park. But how he was recruited was particularly peculiar.

“I saw [Fraser Park] looking for coaches on Facebook, so I went to be a coach there,” Guilherme said.

“I went for a coaching trial, and they saw me kicking the ball into the goal, and they asked me if I was a player and if I wanted to trial for them.

“I went [to the trial], and they liked me, they thought I was pretty good, and I started playing the in the 2020 season with them.”

Despite having a good time at Fraser Park, Guilherme said he wasn’t playing to the best of his ability due to juggling work and study on top of football. To add insult, COVID -19 struck midway season, prompting Guilherme to make the fateful move to Newcastle.

“I spent plenty of my days on a construction site; it was horrible,” Guilherme said.

“I had to manage construction, English school and football, so it was pretty hard to manage, and I didn’t play my best at Fraser Park [because of that].

Fortunately, Guilherme has found his dream job as a support worker. Utilising his physical education degree along with a humble and patient mannerism, he teaches and nurtures disabled children as they grow up.

“I want to work here my whole life. I love seeing them grow up and helping them achieve their goals; I’m really grateful,” he said.

Move up the M1

Guilherme had to leave Sydney for Newcastle, moving in with his girlfriend in mid-2020. It wasn’t long before Guliherme found himself in another trial, this time for NPL stalwarts Newcastle Olympic, about again it wasn’t too be

Falling back on futsal again was fortuitous with Guilherme meeting Craig Tselembis at a competition in Cooks Hill and the rest is Wallsend FC history.

“I couldn’t find a team to play for, so I was just playing futsal at Howzat with some Brazilian friends,” Guilherme said.

“I saw some guys running at Howzat with the Wallsend logo, and I went there to ask if I could do a trial and if they had spots to play.”

“Craig was really happy [that I said that] because they saw me playing futsal, and they said, ‘of course, you can come to a trial’.

“I played against Edgeworth in a trial and played really, really well, and they said, “oh my god, you have to stay with us; you have to sign with us before someone invites you to play.”

The Brazilian of Wallsend

Guilherme signed for Wallsend in 2021. After a rocky first season and contemplating making the step up to NPL, Guilherme said he still owes former coach Craig Tselembis and Wallsend a favour, believing he can lead the Devils to a promised finals spot.

“I still have this goal of playing in the NPL teams,” Guilherme said.

“I was thinking of moving there this season and doing a trial for Cooks Hill, Newcastle Olympic again, or another team. But I choose to play for Wallsend again because I really like Craig and how they treat me when I arrive in Wallsend.

“I feel so comfortable when I play for them, and we didn’t finish last season cause COVID, so I feel like I have to give something to them like achieve playoffs; I know I’m capable to help them achieve these goals.”

Wallsend kicked off their competitive campaign against Mayfield United in the Australia Cup and went down 4-1. A few weeks later, they backed this up with a 3-0 loss to Cessnock.

It is most certainly not the start Wallsend and Guilherme are looking for. Still, he knows they are capable of better performances.

“We started [the year] with plenty of hope with some experienced players coming into our team,” Guilherme said.

“I think in total, we have a strong team for this season.

“[The loss to Mayfield] was a slap in the face. We could do better.

“We need to pay attention to our mistakes. We are really in the right mind to do better this season; we didn’t expect to lose to Mayfield Seniors, so this will make us pay attention more.

“We have to show in the field what we want. We have to show it, not just saying “we want to go to playoffs”, we have to show it.”

Humble, patient, charismatic, Brazilian.

Guilherme Evangelista dos Santos ticks all the boxes every teammate desires. So, after this season, you might see him in an NPL Northern NSW jersey.

“I really enjoy playing for Wallsend,” Guilherme said.

“The community there, everyone is really, really nice. But, I’ll stay for one year and then move to an NPL team. That’s my goal.”

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